Maya Lin Wins $300,000 Gish Prize

maya-lin-gish-prize
2014 Gish Prize winner Maya Lin.
Photo: © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.

On November 12 artist and architect Maya Lin will receive the 21st annual Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, which comes with a cash award of $300,000, in a ceremony at the Museum of Modern Art. The Gish Prize, established in 1994 through the will of actress Lillian Gish—star of many silent era films including Birth of a Nation, as well as some classic talkies including Duel in the Sun and Night of the Hunter—has previously been given to everyone from Shirin Neshat and Frank Gehry to Bob Dylan and Trisha Brown. Last year’s winner was filmmaker Spike Lee.

“I am deeply touched and grateful to become a part of this astonishing line of Prize winners, all of whom were selected because of the very simple but powerful goal set down by Lillian Gish: to bring recognition to the contributions that artists make to society, and to encourage others to follow on that path,” Lin said in a statement. “Because I have been donating so much of my time over the past seven years to a single long-term project, What Is Missing?, the award will make an enormous difference in enabling me to move the work forward.”

Though she first rose to prominence for her Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC, she has remained a leading figure in art and architecture with her large-scale sculptures and installations, as well as new media projects like What Is Missing?, calling attention to mass extinctions and environmental degradation.

The selection committee for this year’s Gish Prize included artist Carrie Mae Weems, Ballroom Marfa executive director Fairfax Dorn, and playwright David Henry Hwang. Speakers at the November 12 ceremony will include billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Museum director Lisa Phillips.

“When the jury got into the discussions, the name of Maya Lin kept rising to the top,” Weems said in a statment. “She is truly one of America’s great artists, who speaks to our historical moment in a way that few artists do. And not only is she continuing to create a body of purposeful work without equal, out of deep aesthetic principles, but she has laid down tracks that have allowed other artists to follow.”


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